The first stage of my plan was to get Brian on my side. I had no idea as to the reach of the wizard’s spell. Was it for all of Ipalés or just the castle? I thought for a long time that it was for everyone but it might not be the case. Brian was always in a position where the stone was in my opposite pocket to him so I had no way of knowing.
It was difficult to see with my limited vision however I was sure people looked at me differently depending on if they were stone side or not. I had to check.
“Brian, can you just check if the stone is still in my pocket. It’s on the other side.” I said to him one dark night.
“Woah, I never realised they didn’t take the stone off you” He lumbered up and without checking with his hands said “It’s there alright. I can see it glowing.”
This set a rush of excitement through me, I wasn’t delusional, someone else believed me. One day I would be released and Brian would be convinced to come with me. I thought I’d try to convince him today.
“Hey do you know where the Malt Hare is?” I asked him.
“Of course, it’s the cheapest inn in the city!” He said, laughing as always.
“Do you think you could get me my bag from there, there’s something I want to give you as a thanks for talking to me.” I said.
“No it’s alright, you being here is thanks enough, and I don’t need anything” he replied heartily, not taking it seriously.
“Well I really do want to give you something, but there’s something I want as well. Do you think you could do it?”
Brian sighed “Well just this once.”
“Thanks, really thanks. If you just ask for the bag with a fishing rod in it you’ll get it.”
Half an hour later Brian returned.
“So what do you want to give me?” He asked. He looked visibly tired and exhausted.
“Take out the poster.” I said to him. Brian riffled through until he found a wrapped up poster, it was the wanted poster for the stone of the conqueror.
“It’s that old stone, what am I going to do with this?” He said.
“Do you see the amount of money, if you help me just a little bit more I’ll give you half of it.”
Brian went wide eyed in disbelief “This sounds illegal… James I’m happy to talk to you but this is too far for me. I sell fruit for god’s sake!” he exclaimed.
“Alright, but I want to give you the offer again when I’m released from these stocks. I’ll be able to explain a little better then.” I said, but this had already created a little bit of distrust and distance between us. I just hoped we could forget about this for the time being.
It felt like the day would never come but two days later they let me out of the stocks during an afternoon. It was so great to be free that I just laid there and waited for Brian to finish his work.
“Alright I don’t have that money yet.” I began to Brian that evening. “But I do have this.” I showed him the stone and the poster which looked the exact same; even the intricate patterns were identical.
“But I thought that was a fake?” Brian said.
“Here’s the thing; the reason why they kicked me out was because they thought it was a dull grey stone, not that it was a very close fake. How is that possible?” I asked.
“I mean I don’t really know, I don’t think you’re being honest with me.” It was a stalemate.
“The only way it would be possible is if a magician cast a spell to make it appear that way.” I said.
“But I don’t really believe you.” He replied, reluctant to help.
“How about this, we walk closer to the castle and if the stone goes dull then I’ll be right.”
Brian just looked baffled.
“Hey, if this turns out to be a real thing then it would be worth the effort to find out.”
“I guess.” Brian said, and we carried on walking.
At one point as we got closer Brian was shocked to see it go dull; I could still see it as shiny though. We even held it and quickly moved it forwards and backwards to show it go from bright to dull. I had proved my theory to be true.
“Here’s the thing though, what do we do now?” Brian said.
“We show it to the king of course and take them to this position.” I replied.
“There’s a problem with that, which I’ve been worried about. When the magician first arrived other people had the same complaint… all of them were hanged.”
“Oh!” that made things difficult and very problematic.